You’ve surely seen plenty of headlines proclaiming the Mediterranean Diet among the healthiest ways to eat. What does the research behind these headlines mean about potential to reduce your risk of cancer? We need to step in and look more closely at these studies, and also step back to view their findings as part of the big picture on what we know about eating habits and cancer risk.
Does a Mediterranean Diet reduce cancer risk?
A growing number of studies do link a Mediterranean pattern of eating with lower cancer risk. But it’s important to emphasize that this is compared to people with low scores for “Mediterranean” eating –which usually means they have eating habits that include more meat, refined grains and sweets. These studies do not establish Mediterranean diets as more protective than other healthy ways of eating.
A Los Angeles County Superior Judge has ruled that all coffee shops and sellers in the state of California must label their product and warn their consumers about potential cancer risk from drinking coffee. This judgement follows from a lawsuit first filed in 2010, and refers to protections under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The judge ruled that the coffee companies failed to meet the burden of proof that coffee caused no harm.
The justification is that acrylamide, which is found in roasted coffee beans, has been linked to cancer in rats. Relatively small amounts of acrylamide is common in many food items besides coffee. The levels that cause cancer in rats are much higher than those consumed through coffee and diet in general.
On a “cancer worry” scale from 0 to 10, coffee should be solidly at 0 and smoking at 10; they should not have similar warning labels.
March is National Nutrition month, a good time to take a look at popular healthy eating patterns and try to identify which one is right for healthy living. Evidence from AICR shows that diet plays an important role in risk for many cancers, and national and international health organizations agree that what you eat is crucial for overall health and reduced risk of cancer.